Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has called for the next meeting of the INDIA opposition bloc to be held in Delhi on Wednesday, sources said this morning. The news came as the party is set to lose the Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh elections.
There is some consolation though, as the party is on track to defeat Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana – his Bharat Rashtra Samithi has ruled the southern state since its creation in 2014.
Meanwhile, the BJP has turned in a dominant performance to retain Madhya Pradesh.
The date of the next INDIA meeting comes amid speculation over the bloc’s future amid talk of internal rifts.
Those rifts were highlighted earlier this month after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) is seen as a founding member, blamed the Congress for lack of prep work for next year’s crucial general election.
“We have been speaking to them… pushing them forward in INDIA alliance. But, of late, there has not been much progress on that front. The Congress seems to be more interested in the five assembly polls. We agreed to assign Congress the leading role. But it appears they will call the next meeting only after they are through with the state elections,” he had said.
The last INDIA meet was on August 31-September 1 in Mumbai, after which the Congress was to set the next date.
INDIA had then said it planned to contest the 2024 election, and this month’s state polls, “together as far as possible”. The wording of the resolution, however, raised eyebrows and spawned questions, specifically the kind INDIA was to answer – how united is the opposition as it bids to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming an unprecedented third term.
Significantly, Nitish Kumar’s comment also came after a squabble between the Congress and another INDIA member – the Samajwadi Party – over seat-sharing in Madhya Pradesh. Akhilesh Yadav claimed a gentleman’s agreement was ignored.
“If I knew, wouldn’t have spoken to Congress,” the Samajwadi Party boss and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said.
Mr Yadav later downplayed the fight, telling Newsbust India he remains part of INDIA.
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